S&W 629 hammer will not come back to fully cocked all the time now?


September 28, 2013, 03:02 AM
I have a S&W 629 that will not allow the hammer to be fully cocked 100% of the time. I thought maybe it was my ammunition, However it happens without anything in the cylinders too.

I depressed the lever just below the firing pin to see if that was causing the sticking but that does not seem to be it. The thumb release is clean and slides okay, but it is part of the issue. When the hammer sticks I can push that thumb lever back with force and it will rotate again.

Almost seems like a spring is not pushing that thumb lever back far enough every time? I don't think the pawl ( if that is the right term) that lifts and rotates the cylinder is an issue, it's working fine. Can grit, dirt or dust get inside this Pawl opening and bind up the thumb release for the cylinder?

Anyone have an issue like this in their gun?

This is a carry gun in the bush weekly. It gets dirty, dusty, pine needles, and whatever else the bush has to offer. Often, wet, and carried in a leather belt holster. So it's certainly not a delicately handled revolver. I shoot it weekly, it's probably had well in excess of 1000 rounds through it.

This new issue kinda bugs me as this is my "parachute" or last resort in my work here. I pack it because I could very likely need it. Having already been knocked down and chewed by a bear once in my life I don't need this to be a problem for me, the next time that happens. ( if it happens)

I'm not a gun smith, so I have a little apprehension taking off a side plate to see whats up inside this thing. I fear a few springs will jettison out of sight!
If it's a simple thing to remove and clean inside I'll do that.

If you enjoyed reading about "S&W 629 hammer will not come back to fully cocked all the time now?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
September 28, 2013, 04:02 AM
I had a similar issue and the repair came back as "warped frame; hand replaced; crane replaced" and other details.

I recently had a firearm out to S&W and their turn around for repair was remarkable - about one week all said and done.

If you can bear to part with it for a short time it might be the right time to have it brought back to factory spec.

Good luck!

September 28, 2013, 04:04 AM
Probably not related... but see if the ejector rod has come loose. Open the cylinder and put some snap caps or empty cartridges into the cylinder, then hold the cylinder firmly and gently turn the ejector rod to see if it is loose. That can cause all sorts of problems when it is unscrewed. If it is loose, tighten it back up with a conservative amount of pressure (do not force it or tighten it too hard).

You might also check that other screws on the firearm havn't come undone if you have a set of gunsmith drivers. On some models there is a screw under the grips that can come loose, and I've seen sideplate screws come loose over time as well. I would not recommend removing the sideplate, but simply removing the grips and with an appropriate screwdriver and gentle pressure make sure everything is where it is meant to be.

If it is not a loose screw or an unscrewed ejector rod then it is beyond my ability to help you over the internet, but someone else here with real experience may chime in.

September 28, 2013, 07:11 AM
I had a similar issue with a hammer on my M25. It felt funny come back to full cock and just wasn't right. Unless I pulled it all the way back with authority to the rear most movement, it wouldn't stay cocked. Turned out it was a loose tension screw that had almost backed all the way out under my Pachy grips. If you have rubber grips on or can't see your tension screw, have a look at that. Based on everything else functioning correctly, I'd almost be willing to put money on it.....Let us know.

September 28, 2013, 08:09 AM
Had a similar issue with my 627. Tension screw loosened up.

September 28, 2013, 09:35 AM
Does it have the internal lock?

September 28, 2013, 09:41 AM
Thanks guys I'm gonna take the grips off first thing. I have crimson trace grips.

It dies not have internal lock it's an mountain gun -4 series.

September 28, 2013, 11:47 AM
Sounds like the mainspring screw has backed out........when that occurs the hammer will become increasingly difficult to cock in single action.

September 29, 2013, 12:49 AM
Just call Smith&Wesson. They have a lifetime Warranty and will fix anything.

September 30, 2013, 09:35 PM
OP, did you find out anything?

September 30, 2013, 10:09 PM
I have not about the problem. I have however found the most important thing was knowing S&W has a gunsmith on staff that will finely tune my gun and bead blast the finish at the factory.

After all the years and miles this has been packed through the bush and put away wet without a single problem. It's definitely time for a service visit.

September 30, 2013, 11:52 PM
Frame warp might be your problem. The 629, if fired thousands of times, will warp toward the solid, or left, side. According to Ed Harris, who once was a tech writer for the NRA, his Model 19 warped after a few thousand hot magnum loads. He had it repaired, put another few thousand rounds through it and by then the warping had become too extensive and he had to retire it.

His next .357, fortunately, was a Ruger Security-Six. With its solid frame I think Ed would wear out before his gun! Gun writer Skeeter Skelton said he personally knew of three Security-Sixes, each of which had in excess of 30,000 rounds of hot magnum rounds. One was a little out of time, he reported, but was still serviceable.

The tremendous stress of high pressure rounds is primarily absorbed by the left side of the S&W frame, which bends the frame slightly to the left. The result is that parts that used to mesh and work together begin to be mismatched. That can result in the problem experienced by the OP. If his gun is like Ed's, he can have it repaired maybe one more time. Perhaps there's more modern materials that will allow the frame to be bent back into spec; but if the factory can't bend the steel back, it'll just have to replace parts.

Although Rugers are tougher and don't wear much, they're heavy to lug around. Even so, a good gun smith can put a great action on a Ruger and a 5-incher Redhawk might be a good answer if one's life is on the line.

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh198/jriler/RugerSS_SolidFrame_3.jpg (http://s256.photobucket.com/user/jriler/media/RugerSS_SolidFrame_3.jpg.html)

Ruger makes its revolvers with solid frames. Thus, stress is evenly distributed.

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh198/jriler/SW629_Emblem.jpg (http://s256.photobucket.com/user/jriler/media/SW629_Emblem.jpg.html)

For balance, quick target acquisition and a great action, the 629 is hard to beat.


just for fun
October 1, 2013, 03:32 AM
The 586 had just come out and a buddy at work bought one. Shot one box of 38's through it and most of a box of 357's. Decided he wanted some else he put it up for sell and I bought it. For a few boxes all was well. Then it started doing what yours is doing. Back to the store (they had at least 4 full time smiths) for repairs and about a week later it was ready for pick up.
That weekend it did the every same thing that the store charged me to fix! (repair tag read "cleaned and adjusted action") They had one smith working there that I thought was a step above the rest and this time I made sure he was the one that "looked" the gun over. We're standing there talking about what it's doing wrong and he's half listening to me and cycling the gun. With the snap of your fingers he says, " I know what's wrong and goes to the back shop! About 20 minutes later he hand it back to me and says, try it now. That was the Summer of 85, thousands of rounds have been through that gun since then without one time doing that "hanging up" BS.
Oh, over the years the tension screw has backed out a time or two and caused lifht primer strikes, but never the cocking issue.

October 1, 2013, 08:50 PM
The tension screw might affect the impact of the hammer on the primer, but it shouldn't affect the lockup of the hammer. The OP said the gun would fire fine, it's just that every now and again the hammer wouldn't lock back. One other thing I'd look at is the rebound spring. If it's not strong enough, it won't push the trigger fully back into play after the gun is fired. And consequently, the hammer may not return to battery. Since the side plate apparently hasn't been off, it might be that sap from those pine needles may have gummed things up and an internal cleaning and lubrication is in order. But again, if frame warping's the problem, that's going to require new parts replacements...perhaps a little frame manipulation and heat treat.

October 1, 2013, 09:06 PM
but it shouldn't affect the lockup of the hammerBut it most assuredly does.

If the strain screw is backed off too far, the hammer stirrup link will allow the spring to bind against the frame, make cocking difficult, it not impossible.


Driftwood Johnson
October 1, 2013, 09:17 PM
If the strain screw is backed off too far, the hammer stirrup link will allow the spring to bind against the frame, make cocking difficult, it not impossible.

That is correct. Loosening the strain screw too far in a Smith can cause the spring to bind against the frame, limiting hammer travel.

Mike Sr.
October 1, 2013, 09:23 PM
This has been going on with some stainless S&W's , since I started collecting 629's over 40 yrs ago[Not ANY MORE]

Don't know about post -5 models.

This happed to me so often I thought about making a video and sending it to Smith: throwing a few in the misourri river.

If you look at the ejection rod you will see that is is knurled! That means it is attached at the other end..the wratchet area that holds the shell rim.

I am 'suggesting' if you open the cylinder and figr out the thread turns
ON/OFF, and do a little investagating my might find the E-rod may have backed out. moving that area to outta SPEC.....

I had the VERY 1ST 8/3/8' 629'S TO EVER enter Nebraska....
One day I took the hawg-leg out and did not even get 1/2 when the jam occoured.................................back then these sold for $100 an inch.

CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW .......................................PISSED I WAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

Can you imagine this happing at a critical moment....

S&W screwed a lot of pooches letting this design flaw exist on early production hand guns

October 1, 2013, 10:29 PM
But it most assuredly does. If the strain screw is backed off too far, the hammer stirrup link will allow the spring to bind against the frame, make cocking difficult, it not impossible.
If the tension screw is backed off too far, you will get few if any shots off. According to the OP, who shoots his gun weekly, the gun fires fine when it mechanically functions. This shouldn't happen if the tension screw backs out as there would not be enough force to propel the pin into the primers to set them off.

If the gun was misfiring, or if the pin mark in the primers were not distinct, I'd say fine. It takes two minutes to check the tension screw. I suspect, however, that there's more to this.

October 1, 2013, 11:18 PM
Okay let me try to explain this with more detail.

In the situation where it does not work The hammer will not budge to cock it.

When I slide the cylinder release and open the cylinder,.... Then snap it shut with force the hammer will pull back and the gun fires and rotates the cylinder fine.

I then open it extract the empties and reload. Now the hammer will not budge again. So I have to open the cylinder and snap it shut. Sometimes this has to be done 2-3 times to get the hammer to work properly.

On rare occasions it will lock up after a shot or two, which requires the cylinder to be opened and closed sharply again to allow the hammer to work again.

Hopefully this makes it more clear.

October 1, 2013, 11:21 PM
On a range trip with my brother in law My Colt diamondback did something like that.

I fired the first couple of rounds...no problem. The next try and the hammer would not go to full cock.

He disassembled the gun and found a very small sliver of lead right on the sear. He got it with a pair of tweezers, re-assembled and we were back shooting. That was a very small piece of lead but it sure stopped my shooting.

This may have nothing to do with your problem...but I hope you find out whats going on with yours.


October 2, 2013, 01:27 PM
Is your ejector rod tight and straight? I believe that if it is loose and/or bent, it can cause this problem.

Old Fuff
October 2, 2013, 02:53 PM
There are a number of things that can cause your problem, and it may take an S&W qualified gunsmith or the companyís service department to correctly identify what it is.

Besides those previously mention the cylinder bolt (the part the cylinder release thumbpiece is attached to) may not move back far enough when you close the cylinder, and when this happens it will block the hammer so that it canít be cocked. Giving the thumbpiece a hard backwards push sometimes will make a temporary fix and the hammer can then be cocked.

If the trigger doesnít reset with the cylinder stop, then when you try to cock the hammer it wonít because it canít unless the cylinder is free to revolve.

Given your description of the conditions and environments where the gun is carried and used, I suspect that it needs to be completely disassembled (requires special screwdrivers and pin punches), thoroughly cleaned and lubricated, and then reassembled. Thereafter I would advise that it be carried in the field in a full-flap holster, covered by a garment, or in colder weather in a deep coat pocket with a pocket holster made to match that pocket. If or when a revolver is exposed to wind-blown grit it can really do a number to its closely fitted lockwork.

To better understand what I am saying you may need a copy of the revolver's owners manual. If you don't have one go to: http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Category4_750001_750051_757821_-1_757814_757812_image and they will download a free copy in .pdf format.

October 2, 2013, 03:43 PM
Thanks Mr. Fluff

I believe that you're correct. I can fiddle with the cylinder release and push it back manually to get the hammer to pull back. There is a 100% connection to the cylinder release and this issue.

Who has sent a gun back to S&W for serivce, what is the turnaround usually like.

October 2, 2013, 03:50 PM
You can probably fix it by simply taking the sideplate off (lots of youtube videos on how to do this correctly - DO NOT pry it off) and hosing out the guts with some type of aerosol cleaner. No springs will fly out.

Then re-lube it, put the sideplate back on, and pat yourself on the back.

Worst thing that will happen is that it doesn't fix it and you have to send it to S&W anyway.

October 2, 2013, 05:03 PM

The plunger that runs through the center of the cylinder was hanging up. I do not know why, but I oiled it up and worked it back and forth.

I cannot make it happen now. It also feels 100% better that and slides in and out with a smooth feel now, rather then the rough hanging up feeling.

How does this come apart? I'll bet that is the area of grit and dust. Is that knurled knob threaded on?

October 2, 2013, 05:18 PM
The ejector rod is threaded. It requires care in removing, since it can be bent. It's also has left-hand threads. Be careful in whatever you use to grasp the knurled end; it should be heavily padded, since you can mar the end.

If you're unsure, take to a good local gunsmith.

Old Fuff
October 2, 2013, 07:03 PM
The Old Fuff is delighted to find out that you have apparently solved your problem, but not surprised.

When you close the cylinder the center rod pushes the cylinder bolt backwards. If it and the rod don't go far enough the hammer will be blocked and not move (at least very much). A spring and plunger, mounted in the barrel's underlug, and just in front of the ejector rod are the parts that push the center pin and cylinder bolt backwards when the cylinder is closed. Pay particular attention to them.

Driftwood Johnson
October 2, 2013, 09:07 PM

Congratulations on your first successful revolver repair job.

Here are some photos that may help explain what was wrong.

Smith and Wesson revolvers are a marvel of mechanical design. They incorporate springs that are specifically designed to overpower each other in normal operation. As you have discovered, a S&W is designed so that the action cannot be operated when the cylinder is open, only when it is closed. This can be defeated, but that is another story.

This is a photo of some of the parts inside a S&W revolver. The gun is much older than yours, but most of the interior parts have not changed much over the years. You probably recognize the thumb piece. It is held in place by something that looks like a screw but is actually a nut. The cylinder bolt/hammer stop bar fits into the horizontal groove in the frame, and a threaded stud protrudes through the frame. The thumb piece fits over the stud and the nut fastens them in place. This is not the greatest photo in the world, but I have drawn a red arrow. It points to a spring plunger that sits at the end of the stop bar. There is a tiny spring concealed inside the bar that pushes the plunger out. When the bolt is in place, the L shaped part of it projects in towards the side plate.


This photo shows the parts in place. Sorry everything is so dirty, I took this photo before I cleaned up this gun. You can see that the bolt has been shoved forward by the tiny spring under the plunger. In this position, the hammer is blocked by the L shaped piece I mentioned, and it cannot rotate. That is the way it is supposed to work, when the cylinder is open, the tiny spring pushes the bolt forward and that extension blocks the hammer from moving. Since the hammer cannot move, neither can the trigger.


At the rear of the cylinder is a spring loaded pin. It is the shiny, rounded pin in the center of the cylinder in this photo. When the cylinder is closed, the spring that powers this pin over powers the tiny spring in the bolt, and the bolt gets pushed back. You can press on this pin and feel how much stronger its spring is than the spring that pushes the bolt forward.


This revolver is a bit more modern, it has the modern hammer block in place. If you look very carefully in the hollow behind the bolt, you can barely see the little plunger pushing the bolt forward. The hammer is blocked and it cannot move.


Back now to another old gun. The cylinder is closed, and the strong spring that shoves the pin at the center of the cylinder has overpowered the tiny spring in the bolt, pushing the bolt back far enough that the hammer can now rotate.


That's the way the springs work together to lock up or free the hammer from rotating, depending on whether or not the cylinder is opened or closed.

Now I am willing to bet you that the real problem was gunk in the slot where the bolt rides back and forth. Too much gunk and the bolt gets sticky, as you discovered. The real solution is to take the whole thing apart and remove any gunk that is in there. But I completely understand if you are reluctant to remove the side plate. It is not for the faint of heart.

The way to remove the side plate is to first remove the grips. Then remove the screws (probably three) that hold it in place. Take note of which hole which screw came out of. When you take the front screw out, you can pull the entire cylinder assembly out forward. Now, supporting the frame of the gun in your palm, strike the grip frame with the wooden handle of a hammer. WOOD ONLY!!! Not metal. Striking the grip frame this way will drive the side plate up. Keep your thumb on it so it does not pop out and fall on the floor. Once the side plate is off, REMEMBER, NO PRYING, you can use a spray cleaner to degunk everything without further disassembling the gun. Work the action a few times and observe how everything works. Then put the side plate back in place and gently tap it home, then secure the screws.

Do not use cheap hardware store screwdrivers, use gunsmith's hollow ground bits.

Here is a photo of a disassembled cylinder. Trust me, you do not want to go this far.


October 2, 2013, 10:25 PM
Wow, great photo essay!

I'm so glad I found this site you folks have been so good to chat with and so helpful!

October 2, 2013, 10:34 PM

Glad you got her back up and running. Sounds like she needs a more thorough cleaning and lubing.

October 2, 2013, 11:40 PM
I have a couple options. I had three but S&W is out because they are 8-12 months out for completion as of today.

The Other two options are
Gemini Customs or Alex Hamilton of Ten Ring.

Alex sounds like a great guy and has a hella good reputation, however there is no dust settling on Gemini's skill set either. I have a tough decision to make on this now. Gotta love America, too many good choices rather then in South Africa, with minimal to poor options locally! I would not dare to send a firearm in the post there!

If you enjoyed reading about "S&W 629 hammer will not come back to fully cocked all the time now?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!